Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh flayed “attempts to politicise” the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) case with “unsubstantiated” charges against his son-in-law, who he claimed was being unnecessarily dragged into the controversy. Gurpal Singh was a only a minority shareholder with a mere 12.5 per cent share in Simbhaoli Sugars, the chief minister said. In a statement issued here, Amarinder Singh said that as per information available with him, the alleged fraud, which was at the centre of the case, was the subject matter of court proceedings before the DRT in a recovery suit filed by the bank, which was settled between the company and OBC, and was recorded by DRT Lucknow by way of a consent order dated March 16, 2015. The chief minister said his son-in-law was a law-abiding citizen, and according to his information had even refused to sign any documents to give any personal guarantee against the loan in question, forcing the OBC to amend the loan document on February 12, 2015, thus waiving the requirement of Gurpal Singh’s signature on any guarantee documents.
Political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were targeting Gurpal Singh only because of the OBC director’s personal relationship with him, claimed Amarinder Singh. He claimed baseless allegations were made just to secure political mileage. Gurpal Singh had actually been litigating against Simbhaoli Sugars, for his rights as director and shareholder, before the National Company Law Tribunal, as he was kept out of all major decisions and the working of the company, which was reportedly a matter of court record, said the chief minister. Given these facts, the political attack on his son-in-law was ludicrous, the chief minister claimed, adding that even a cursory check of the case background would have revealed that Gurpal Singh had no role in the entire affair. It was evident that the issue was being deliberately sought to be politicised, with the farming community also being unnecessarily dragged into the whole affair, he said.
All the vital facts would emerge before the courts when the CBI case is taken up by them, said the chief minister, urging the political parties and the media to stop indulging in baseless statements and reporting. Yesterday, the Central Bureau of Investigation registered a case against Simbhaoli Sugars Limited, its chairman Gurmit Singh Mann, deputy managing director Gurpal Singh and others in connection with an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 97.85 crore. Gurpal Singh is the son-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Simbhaoli Sugars Limited is one of the largest sugar mills in the country. The company’s chief executive officer, GSC Rao, CFO Sanjay Tapriya, Executive Director Gursimran Kaur Mann and five non-executive directors were also booked.